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Poster: smgarcia Date: Mar 23, 2008 11:06pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: The Best and the Worst of the Grateful Dead

There is a very good chance that I'll be giving a short presentation to some fellow classmates at my school about Jerry Garcia and the Dead. The purpose of this course is to explore how illness affects people's art, and I want to show how Jerry had an up and down career. Everything was great from 65 - 78, started doing the white powder in 79 or so (the exact year might not be right but it close) his musical playing abilities suffered all the way to his diabetic coma in 86, he started playing better all the way to 1990 or so, then tailed off again as he started doping more frequently until his death.

What I would like your help with is finding a song that they played started in, say 1970, all the way to their final year 1995 (or close to it) and show how the performance of that song mirrored Jerry's health. I also want the song not to be too trippy because I'll lose the interest of my fellow classmates. I've thought of Playin', The Other One, naturally Dark Star (but that song is too advanced for non-GD people.) Maybe NFA. I'm not really sure. What do you guys think?

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Poster: He Live's Date: Mar 24, 2008 8:42am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Best and the Worst of the Grateful Dead

"how illness effects people's art" -- i think this premise only applies to garcia in a VERY SMALL time window to be honest. like probably 83-86 you can track a severe downward spiral leading to the coma....

if you want to equate any sort of drug use with illness then ok, that sounds more fun. and you can talk for hours about how LSD opened the doors of perception for jerry bobby phil and billy. as far as cocaine, jerry/they were using coke from easily 69 and on.... i believe jerry started messing with heroin/opiates in 78 or so....

i don't think there is a song you can track over time as deteriorating due to drug use. i guess you could make a case that after smoking for years and years jerry's VOICE really went down hill. but, whatever, that is not that interesting.

i think you should 1. catch up on your reading (parrish's book, phil's book, and robert greenfield's dark star collection, to start -- and of course, you've read electric koolaid acid test, right?) and then 2. get a new topic.


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Poster: smgarcia Date: Mar 24, 2008 9:06am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Best and the Worst of the Grateful Dead

Well...very good point. I suppose with drug use there is a period of time where there "isn't an illness" and just an addiction, or for my purposes the art that comes from being high on LSD.

I think chronic drug use is an illness though, and I'm sure the medical establishment would agree with that. Surely by the time Jerry started using heroin regularly he was ill. There were innumerable reports of him staying in his hotel room while on tour and not leaving, so he could just stay high and stoned. He ate Haggendas Ice Cream all the time. He became a type II diabetic very quickly.

Thanks for your comments. I'm trying to gather as much information and opinion on this as I can and everything here is really helpful.

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Poster: TitoGarcia Date: Mar 24, 2008 10:14am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Best and the Worst of the Grateful Dead

Jerry Garcia was a brilliant musician, my favorite of all-time.....that being said, he wasnt some kind rainbow warrior. He was a fat slob,chili dog eating,crackhead,junkie,womanizer,selfish, greedy man(ties?icecream?).
Would i like to go out and Party With Jerry Garcia?HELL FUCKING YEAH!!!!
Would i let this man babysit children or even a dog?NOW THATS A JOKE!HELL NO!

it is what it is man.

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Poster: Earl B. Powell Date: Mar 24, 2008 6:03am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Best and the Worst of the Grateful Dead

Great subject matter for a presentation. My personal belief is that Jerry was a very enigmatic figure in terms of his heroin abuse as it related to his playing abilities.

First, nothing occurs in a vacuum, so other factors such as the onset of diabetes, carpal tunnel syndrome, addiction to nicotine, and the natural aging process need to be considered. At age 50, even a healthy and sober soul would be pushed both physically and mentally to go out on tour for months at a time.

In addition, the rest of the band had faults of their own that mainifested themselves during the period you would most likely focus on, 78-87. Jerry wasn't necessarily at the wheel for all the train wrecks that occured, and many have said that in general the bands performance was most closely tied to how Phil was getting along. Jerry can be spotlighted in terms of performance (or lack thereof) but again, a Dead show didn't occur in a vacuum.

Another essential perspective is that Jerry's performances with JGB did not mirror the lack of enthusiasm shown during Dead tours in the same time frame. The critical element to be considered here is that Garcia & Kahn shared an addiction to heroin, it's use more prevalent during JGB tours. (Maria Muldaur interviews.)

This consideration stretches further considering Garcia's performances with Grisman, both live and in the studio. It's been well documented that Garcia became somewhat reclusive due to his habit, but apparently Jerry was still fairly prolific in the studio and his acoustic chops never seemed to suffer.

In the end, and as you suggest, there didn't seem to be a linear decline in terms of Garcia's abilities. His enthusiasm kind of ebbed and flowed with his health, and at times his playing reflected it. It became much more visible in the 90's, but having this period in time tied directly to his heroin use would only reflect its cumulative effect.



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Poster: smgarcia Date: Mar 24, 2008 8:53am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Best and the Worst of the Grateful Dead

Excellent analysis. I agree with everything you wrote. I only have about 30 minutes to present though. As a faithful GD listener I shall give an unbiased opinion of the Dead, based on all of the books I've read and my learnings. Thanks for your input.

I suspect other people will have similar difficulties discussing their artists. One person chose the painter Gauguin, he suffered from a long-lasting syphilis infection; another chose Beethoven, he had an assortment of health issues. Everyone knows he became deaf, but he was also an alcoholic, had a number of mental diseases (depression, maybe bipolar), was slowly poisoned by lead over 10 years, most assuredly had a venereal disease. One other chose Van Gogh and one work said he could have had up to 100 different diseases or syndromes.

Thanks for your analysis.

This post was modified by smgarcia on 2008-03-24 15:53:04

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Poster: jackstraw86 Date: Mar 24, 2008 6:27am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Best and the Worst of the Grateful Dead

Stella Blue

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Poster: jackstraw86 Date: Mar 24, 2008 6:27am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Best and the Worst of the Grateful Dead

Stella Blue

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Poster: grendelschoice Date: Mar 24, 2008 7:10am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Best and the Worst of the Grateful Dead

Use EYES OF THE WORLD.

You don't have to play the whole song. Just play 2-3 minutes of the lovely, fluid jamming you hear in versions from 1973 (when it first showed up live)...use the 11/11/73 version from the forthcoming Winterland '73 boxed set, if you want...play it up to and including his singing the opening verse, showcasing how sweet and strong his vocals were...

then play the 1977 version from 10/29/77 to reveal how the song still flourished, and he still sang with gusto....

then choose nearly any version from 1980 on to show how speeded up and sloppy the song became in comparison, how the vocals were quite weaker and the song was sung with less passion and care...

...then finish full circle with the recovery by using the 3/29/90 version found on "Without a Net", playing with Branford Marsalis--a complete rejuvenation and re-invention of the song and his commitment to it.

I think the progression of EYES in the time frame you're using fits perfectly with your thesis.

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Poster: grendelschoice Date: Mar 24, 2008 7:10am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Best and the Worst of the Grateful Dead

Use EYES OF THE WORLD.

You don't have to play the whole song. Just play 2-3 minutes of the lovely, fluid jamming you hear in versions from 1973 (when it first showed up live)...use the 11/11/73 version from the forthcoming Winterland '73 boxed set, if you want...play it up to and including his singing the opening verse, showcasing how sweet and strong his vocals were...

then play the 1977 version from 10/29/77 to reveal how the song still flourished, and he still sang with gusto....

then choose nearly any version from 1980 on to show how speeded up and sloppy the song became in comparison, how the vocals were quite weaker and the song was sung with less passion and care...

...then finish full circle with the recovery by using the 3/29/90 version found on "Without a Net", playing with Branford Marsalis--a complete rejuvenation and re-invention of the song and his commitment to it.

I think the progression of EYES in the time frame you're using fits perfectly with your thesis.

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Poster: smgarcia Date: Mar 24, 2008 8:23am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Best and the Worst of the Grateful Dead

Brilliant! I know that song very well over the years. I'm most familiar with it over the late 70's. I also agree that the 80's really chopped up that song maybe more on average than other years or decades. It was played faster, there were more dropped notes, and overall rather un-inspired. It really hurts to hear Jerry play a solo and miss 25% of the notes he wants to play. Plus hear the all cracked up voice as well.

Ok, I tried to get 11/11/73 and it's now off Archive because it's been released. I really don't want to spend $100 to buy the box set, but maybe soon enough I will. But not in time for this presentation. I think I'll have to go with another early version. On my iTunes I have from 1973: Feb 2, Feb 15, March 22, May 26, June 10, Sept 11, and Sept 17. I can get any other 1973 show from Archive (or any show off Archive for that matter.) So maybe I should start hunting them down.

Now, for your 1977 choice, I'm listening to it right now. If I were asked to pick an Eyes or two from 1977 I would have immediately gone with Swing 2/26/77 or Fox 5/18/77. The more I listen to all of 1977 which I do quite a lot, I'm first impressed with the overall quality and tightness that Swing gave. It was their first concert of the year and I think it's better than 5/7, 5/8, 5/9 (wouldn't that be a nice little boxset?), some of the other Winterland shows, or any other show for the most part. This version you write of is slower than most of the Eyes. The opening is good, average, but one of the solos in the middle is quite riveting. OK. So it shouldn't be a problem getting something from 1977.

Any 80's will do, especially 83 -> 86. I never listen to those shows. It's hard to listen to.

For the 90's. I remember there was a show that opened with Eyes. I also remember a run at Giant's stadium, Alpine Valley, and MSG. I think it shouldn't be too hard to find one. I'm not sure I have the "Without A Net" but it's possible I do.

Thank you, a wonderful suggestion! It's a song that isn't spacey, it has a definite melody, and it's SO PRETTY.

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Poster: grendelschoice Date: Mar 24, 2008 2:58pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Best and the Worst of the Grateful Dead

I think that 5/18/77 Fox Theater version is a great choice. I only mentioned 10/29/77 b/c it's a personal fave...I think you can't go wrong with nearly any '77 version to prove your point.

(Ditto any '73 version; you don't nec. need the 11/11/73 Winterland)

good luck with the presentation and let us know how it goes!

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Poster: Yankee9 Date: Mar 24, 2008 7:17am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Best and the Worst of the Grateful Dead

use China Doll or Roses, excellent and short examples of how Jerry's voice changed over the years

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Poster: elbow1126 Date: Mar 24, 2008 7:40am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Best and the Worst of the Grateful Dead

I have subjected my wife to such a comparison once. I used Terrapin Station. I made her listen to the first one on 2/26/77 followed by the only one she witnessed live (7/23/94). I actually have never been able to go back and listen to my last Dead concert ever since I made that comparison.

http://www.archive.org/details/gd1977-02-26.sbd.cantor.deibert.83283.flac16

(new betty board source here)

http://www.archive.org/details/gd94-07-23.sbd.fishman.14839.sbeok.shnf

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Poster: ruffruff Date: Mar 24, 2008 6:13am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Best and the Worst of the Grateful Dead

I think you'll get a D.

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Poster: smgarcia Date: Mar 24, 2008 7:54am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Best and the Worst of the Grateful Dead

LOL! Hilarious. I won't get a D. There are some uncomfortable facts in life about the Dead that GD fans hate to hear.

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Poster: smgarcia Date: Mar 24, 2008 7:54am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Best and the Worst of the Grateful Dead

LOL! Hilarious. I won't get a D. There are some uncomfortable facts in life about the Dead that GD fans hate to hear.

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Poster: TitoGarcia Date: Mar 24, 2008 10:14am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Best and the Worst of the Grateful Dead

Jerry Garcia was a brilliant musician, my favorite of all-time.....that being said, he wasnt some kind rainbow warrior. He was a fat slob,chili dog eating,crackhead,junkie,womanizer,selfish, greedy man(ties?icecream?).
Would i like to go out and Party With Jerry Garcia?HELL FUCKING YEAH!!!!
Would i let this man babysit children or even a dog?NOW THATS A JOKE!HELL NO!

it is what it is man.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Mar 24, 2008 11:50am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Best and the Worst of the Grateful Dead

Good luck with it. As alluded to above, I think there are two components to be identified: "health" degradation and "drug use"...clearly connected, but consider the obvious: playing as much as he did (not just the DEAD, but include all the solo efforts so to speak) with his smoking (drug, I know) and junk food habits, etc., and you would have dramatic physical changes. This is why I am drawn to the early years. He looses his voice post 71 (can still be good, at times) as much do to those changes as anything associated with hard drugs. Now, if he had been a health nut then the hard drugs may have affected playing, concentration, etc., but in a different way.

So, between those two perspectives (again they are connected I realize), I would argue that 30 yrs of hard living with poor health habits had more impact than straight up hard drug use.

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Poster: bluedevil Date: Mar 24, 2008 12:44pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Best and the Worst of the Grateful Dead

can someone pinpoint for me when and where Bird's playing went bad due to heroin? Because apparently many junky jazz musicians got hooked trying to get Charlie Parker's sound and thinking heroin was the route there....

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Poster: veblen Date: Mar 24, 2008 1:42pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Best and the Worst of the Grateful Dead

I should know more about the overall impact of the drug on parker, since he is someone that I have listened to with admiration and amazement from an early age. I guess like with many artists, I prefer to let the art speak for itself and not get lost in the artist's personal lives, thoughts, politics, etc., etc.. And with parker, the art certainly does some speaking...

Anyway, the addiction stems from early heavy morphine use due to an auto accident that just grew worse through-out his life with a re-hab here and a re-hab there. With Parker there where up's and down's through-out his career due to the impacts of heroin: using it; obtaining it; and drinking due to not having any.

Even though there has long been a connection between jazz and narcotics much of the idea of heroin driven jazz comes from parker stories such as the one where he falls into the orchestra pit during a mother-of-all be-bop solos only to finish the solo on his back. Diz looked down and when he finished asked him if he was ok, only to hear: "I guess I did a little too much diz..."

Though I myself prefer the more positive story where philly jo jones threw a cymbol at parker because of his slow/poor play only to be so humiliated that he went on to practice up to 15-hours daily for the next 3-years.

I wonder if it would have been different if parker was provided a daily fix like ravel was provided his daily bottle of wine during a prohibition era tour of the usa?

Now your question has me thinking about the impact of heroin on the flow of his career.

damn, now the pm must be spent with the charle parker quintet (diz, bird and miles...)!!!

This post was modified by veblen on 2008-03-24 20:42:38

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Poster: bluedevil Date: Mar 24, 2008 1:51pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Best and the Worst of the Grateful Dead

not a bad way to spend the pm - let this get you started:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=Kl6MjOHT8oI

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Poster: BillyBuck Date: Mar 24, 2008 5:44pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Best and the Worst of the Grateful Dead

Look for the version of "Lover Man" from the Dial sessions. I think there were two takes. The version you want is the unreleased one.

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Poster: Burnt Rich Date: Mar 24, 2008 7:47am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Best and the Worst of the Grateful Dead

Leave Jerry alone.....I think it just trivializes the human aspect of Garcia. There are so many factors in regards to why songs went up and down---to just pin the tail on the donkey with his drug use is short sighted and jaded. Is your report and grades really worth dragging Jerry's skeletons out of the closet for a generation and probable classroom full of people with little context or care in regards to the human being that was Jerry. It just seems a somewhat tacky, IMHO. R.I.P. Jerry Garcia.

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Poster: smgarcia Date: Mar 24, 2008 8:54am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Best and the Worst of the Grateful Dead

I appreciate your opinion, but most people who are even casual observers of the Grateful Dead know that the band used a lot of drugs. Jerry was an icon during his life but I don't think it is dangerous to showcase Jerry's human qualities, for he was a human not a deity. For what it's worth there isn't a grade for this class (it's pass/fail) and it's a class I'm taking in medical school as an adjunct to my normal medicine classes. So all of the students and the Dean who is running the class I think will be able to take my information in stride.

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Poster: mcgannahan Date: Mar 24, 2008 8:20am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Best and the Worst of the Grateful Dead

noone played as many gigs on drugs as jerry. keep that in mind. yes, his spirit was that strong, to have survived the sixties, seventies, eighties, and half the nineties.

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Poster: BillyBuck Date: Mar 24, 2008 5:48pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Best and the Worst of the Grateful Dead

Something was going on as early as Fall '77, though I don't know if it was the Persian or the cigarettes.

David Gans recently played some Fall 77 shows in anticipation of the Road Trips release and until he announced the date I could have sworn I was hearing a mid-80s show. Jerry's vocals were all out of breath and he was madly fumbling during solos. "Terrapin" was only about two shakes shy of all-out train wreck.

'77 is my cutoff point for that reason. I'm sure there are great nuggets buried in the later years but it's just too heartbreaking to hear that winded voice.

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Poster: midnight sun Date: Mar 25, 2008 1:50am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Best and the Worst of Pride and Predjudice

for starters, your premise is entirely subjective...imo the dead peaked as a band in 77, but Jerry's individual instrumental performance peaked in August 82 (too bad the rest of the band couldn't keep up) i also prefer the touch of rasp in his voice during this time period...to each their own...

instead of attaching a subjective value to his performances, why not simply demonstrate how much he changed (i prefer the words evolved/devolved) over the years...for instance, take an early 70's Deal, Sugaree or whatever, then the expanded jamming of an 80's version (like 10/17/83)


as for tracking his artistic career to his drug (ab)use???

sorry, but the idea just stinks of prejudice and condemnation...according to Robert Hunter, Jerry never directly revealed much of his personal self to anyone, and that's the way he fucking well wanted it

SO THERE!!!


just kidding, i know you intended no malice...all the best to your endeavor

This post was modified by midnight sun on 2008-03-25 08:50:45

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Poster: William Tell Date: Mar 25, 2008 7:49am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Best and the Worst of Pride and Predjudice

Hey MS--I know it seems we are at odds in our assessments, but I give you the nod for understanding the evolution of his playing ability, and my inability to do that...what I did feel had declined was his overall energy, and voice (but as you say, to each his own). When I saw him in the late 70s and early 80s he often appeared so tired...I longed to see him/them as I pictured them in the late 60s in which they could just be on fire energy wise for a couple of hrs at a time...by the late 70s, between the set break and the "space break" he often seemed to just be going thru the motions, dog tired and out of it...don't get me wrong, there were moments of brilliance, but also of sadness seeing him in that state...IMHO.

Spring coming?

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Poster: dadadasinima Date: Mar 25, 2008 2:29am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Best and the Worst of Pride and Predjudice

I agree with you .No man is perfect.but ...

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Poster: liberty1 Date: Mar 24, 2008 2:10am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The Best and the Worst of the Grateful Dead

try brokedown palace